Alexandru Georgescu
Alexandru Georgescu
Economist, Research Fellow with the EURISC Foundation, studying geopolitics, international security issues and critical infrastructure protection, currently in a Ph.D. research program on the latter subject
A Romanian Perspective on the Three Seas Initiative

A Romanian Perspective on the Three Seas Initiative

The Three Seas Initiative is a recent formula describing an older concept. Romania is a reflexive supporter of regional cooperation initiatives, but it is paying special attention to this initiative, as it encompasses a geopolitically significant area with relevance to long-term Romanian interests. This paper argues that this valuable initiative has a latent geopolitical subtext with regards to the two powers flanking the region which is perceived as such, if not commonly articulated, by the countries of the initiative. At the same time, the Black Sea will be a main deciding factor for the success and failure of the Initiatives, owing to several underlying conditions, as well as potential complicating factors. Any sort of Three Seas Initiative development will have to keep this in mind or else risk a concentration of vulnerabilities in the middle portion of the Initiative’s geographical space. The Three Seas Initiative must also be regarded from the perspective of synergies with Chinese initiatives, such as the Belt and Road Initiative and the 16+1 cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European countries. More

No. 7-8, Sep.-Dec. 2017 2017


Pandora’s Botnet

Pandora’s Botnet

Cybersecurity is mentioned so often that it has become a cliché like climate change, with the other thing they have in common being a disagreement on what solutions are required, who is responsible for them and whether there is a responsibility in changing behaviour so as to minimize these risks. All of these difficult questions are left unanswered not just by the conceptual breadth and diversity of the issue at hand, but also by the ease with which dilettantes and people with agendas can spot facile solutions that obviate the need for difficult questions and answers. More

No. 7-8, Sep.-Dec. 2017 2017


The Saudi Shake-up

The Saudi Shake-up

News of the ongoing purge of numerous high-level officials and Saudi Royal Family members by the Saudi government has rattled global markets and raised further doubts regarding the stability of the Kingdom. What some are calling a counter-coup is presented as an anti-corruption move that saw over 1,200 bank accounts frozen and numerous assets being seized. Two Saudi princes have also died, one in an as yet unexplained helicopter crash near the Yemeni border and the other, the youngest son of King Fahd who ruled Saudi Arabia until 2005, died in a shoot-out between his security detail and government forces. More

No. 7-8, Sep.-Dec. 2017 2017


North Korea: “Reading the Tea Leaves”

North Korea: “Reading the Tea Leaves”

The “hermit kingdom” of North Korea is back in the news, at the center of a new round of exchanges of bellicose declarations, underpinned by failed tests for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that, nevertheless, show the impressive progress of the country’s indigenous program. The missile capabilities are meant to provide a delivery device for the country’s nuclear weapons, the other great program beset by a string of failures and shoestring successes. Western observers are now attempting to “read the tea leaves” in order to predict when the country will have achieved the ability to threaten the continental United States, while the threat to its immediate neighbors, South Korea and Japan, remains real but uncertain. The weapon systems involved are complex and, as has been suggested of the recent failed test, prone to cyber-attacks and sabotage through the component supply chain. Rather, the immediate threat to a country like South Korea is all of the conventional artillery pointed at its capital, which would make flattening Seoul in a matter of hours a foregone proposition. With Donald Trump at the helm of the US and sending carrier groups in the vicinity, a man given to grand gestures as negotiating bids, the latest tensions with North Korea seem momentous, as if some form of denouement to the regime in Pyongyang is looming. The form it would take is critical to its neighbors, who fear both the ways in which the country can lash out violently, as well as the consequences of a collapse of power, such as millions of refugees trying to cross land borders or internecine warfare.  More

No. 5-6, May.-Aug. 2017 2017


Trump and the Paris Agreement

Trump and the Paris Agreement

The negotiations for the Paris Agreement were concluded at the 21st Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in December 2015, and it entered into force in October 2016. It has been signed by 195 countries and ratified by 144. President Trump has repeatedly spoken out against the Paris Agreement and the “climate change industry” and made it a campaign plank to exit the Agreement. For all of its apparent randomness, there is one obvious trend in his Cabinet appointments, past and present, which is to appoint people who exhibit an ideological break from the policies of the past Administration or who are skeptical of the worldview of their respective agencies. Naming a “climate change skeptic” and pro-business advocate, Scott Pruitt, to the Environmental Protection Agency was one such move. Naming a China and free trade skeptic, Robert Lighthizer, to be US Trade Representative (a Cabinet level appointment) was another. And there are still more examples, such as the failed nomination of fast-food CEO Andrew Puzder as Secretary of Labor. More

No. 4, Mar.-Apr. 2017 2017


Ethnogenesis in Davos

Ethnogenesis in Davos

The Davos World Economic Forum, established in 1971, is emblematic of our era for its courtship of notoriety, as opposed to the old Bilderberg Group’s more discrete operation, along with a calculated transparency regarding the power of those attending and the topics of high interest on a global level that are discussed (among some trivial diversions). If you are rich and affluent, then you will be present at Davos, and if you are present at Davos, then it is confirmed that you are rich and affluent. The fact that Davos is a phenomenon in itself, which transcends its components, is confirmed by the emergence of numerous events that imitate the Davos style or that take place simultaneously, just three streets away, in the ghetto of the millionaires in the alpine resort, so that the striving classes can also experience a counterfeit Davos for signalling their social status. When the famous Francis Fukuyama and Samuel Huntington were silently confronting each other, the former with the theory of “the end of history” and the latter arguing for “an end of the beginning” (in Winston Churchill’s words) through the clash of civilizations, Huntington was the one proven right by history, not only through the rise of militant Islamism, but also after inventing the atavistic formula of the “Davos Man”. This subspecies of Homo sapiens sapiens has no national loyalties; he is able to consider himself a citizen of the world and to be inclined towards thinking globally and acting in this direction. More

No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017 2017


Worrying about Wetware

Worrying about Wetware

There is a silent revolution taking place in robotics, and automation in general. It is related not just the capabilities, but also the accessibility and affordability of the new means of production. Greater productivity is one of the results and the one most robo-evangelists cling to. The other is uncertainty. Our entire social and economic systems are predicated on working for income. This affects not just the life rhythms which human redundancy purports to improve, but also social status, consumption capacity and self-esteem. We will have to see if the revolution actually delivers on its promises, but even a partial result could lead to a hair-raising social upheaval, regardless of whether the final result is a net positive or not. In discussing past industrial revolutions, we often gloss over decades of labor unrest, migrations, community destruction and uncertainty in a few lines, with an intellectual carelessness more appropriate to Communist rationalizing of the piles of dead than humanist interest in the general welfare. More

No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017 2017


The Course of Empire

The Course of Empire

We no longer cultivate an understanding of history and art. Western democracies are increasingly relentless in denying their ancestors. The present sneers at the past with a sense of superiority that comes from simply being the present, with the ancient dead having no recourse or appeal against judgment rooted in contemporary bias. No other kind of ignorance indulges in current Western levels of self-flattery. More

No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017 2017


Plato’s Cave, American Edition

Plato’s Cave, American Edition

Plato’s cave is a place where people sit chained seeing the shadows cast on the wall by a fire and thinking that that is reality. Escaping the cave requires a rough ascent into sunlight to experience reality as it is. A weird and troubling phenomenon is taking place in the political battles surrounding Donald Trump’s Presidency that will reverberate beyond this embattled term, as it sets a new low of public discourse which future political leaders and scandalmongers will find it easier to match. While there is a necessity for strategic ambiguity in politics, it has become impossible to distinguish reality from theater, especially since the media has decided to become a player and not an arbiter. More

No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017 2017


Considerations on North Korea

Considerations on North Korea

The “hermit kingdom” of North Korea is back in the news, at the center of a new round of exchanges of bellicose declarations, underpinned by failed tests for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that, nevertheless, show the impressive progress of the country’s indigenous program. The missile capabilities are meant to provide a delivery device for the country’s nuclear weapons, the other great program beset by a string of failures and shoestring successes. Western observers are now attempting to “read the tea leaves” in order to predict when the country will have achieved the ability to threaten the continental United States, while the threat to its immediate neighbors, South Korea and Japan, remains real but uncertain. The weapon systems involved are complex and, as has been suggested of the recent failed test, prone to cyber-attacks and sabotage through the component supply chain. Rather, the immediate threat to a country like South Korea is all of the conventional artillery pointed at its capital, which would make flattening Seoul in a matter of hours a foregone proposition. With Donald Trump at the helm of the US and sending carrier groups in the vicinity, a man given to grand gestures as negotiating bids, the latest tensions with North Korea seem momentous, as if some form of denouement to the regime in Pyongyang is looming. The form it would take is critical to its neighbors, who fear both the ways in which the country can lash out violently, as well as the consequences of a collapse of power, such as millions of refugees trying to cross land borders or internecine warfare.  More

No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017 2017


The Genesis of a President and the Four Horsemen of the Establishment's Trumpocalypse

The Genesis of a President and the Four Horsemen of the Establishment's Trumpocalypse

Donald Trump’s stunning electoral upset presages a new political realignment within the United States’ two-party system. Hopefully, the end of such a process will be a more competitive system, in which the preferences of the large and increasingly heterogenous American population are better aggregated and reflected in the resulting public policies. More

No. 2, Nov.-Dec. 2016 2016


Henderson’s Last Warning – in Victory, Possible Defeat

Henderson’s Last Warning – in Victory, Possible Defeat

The death of Dr. Donald Henderson in August 2016 went largely unremarked by the wider world. Instead of the evening news, I learned of it from an Economist obituary but, by rights, the event should have been a global opportunity to meditate on his life’s work, which involved saving at least a hundred million people from death by smallpox and another three hundred million from the disfiguring effects of infection. In 1966, the World Health Organization (WHO) was given the task of getting rid of smallpox. Donald Henderson had already been studying the disease in over 50 countries. By 1977, Henderson was observing the last natural recorded case of smallpox and, by 1980, the WHO had announced the success of the Smallpox Eradication Program (SEP), something previously thought unachievable. More

No. 2, Nov.-Dec. 2016 2016


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OEconomica No. 1, 2016